Meet Kieron Wilson, the Salford student standing in the general election
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Kieron Wilson, 22, will be standing as an independent candidate for the seat of Bournemouth East, which has been a Conservative stronghold for over 45 years.
Kieron is in his final semester of his last year of politics degree at Salford, and wants to encourage the voice of young people in Bournemouth.
Speaking to The National Student, he discusses his decision to put himself forward:
"It’s something I was thinking about doing for a while," he says. "I think politics needs to be more representative of people from all backgrounds - when I graduate in July I’ll be the first in my family, (I come from a working class family). Over 60% of the country identify as working class, yet how many in parliament could say that they come from that background?
"By being an independent I have so much more freedom to pick and choose how I want to vote best for the consistency, a town I love, rather than what is best for a party that just wants to maintain power."
On the issue of engaging youth voters, he says:
"The best way too represent young people is by being in touch with what they want, and I know what they want because it’s the same as what me and my friends want. They want to be able to get on the property ladder, and not be saddled with £27,000 + worth of debt. My voice in parliament will be the best representation I can provide."
As an independent Kieron obviously can’t form a government by himself, so can’t make a traditional manifesto - he can only say where he stands on issues and how he would vote in parliament.
"My main policies are the importance of protecting pensions - a big issue in Bournemouth with so many elderly residents in my constituency. I want more funding to be put into the NHS, as it is a template of Conservative governments to run state owned services into the ground to the point where there is no choice but to privatised. That has to be stopped.
"One of my main policies is to end homelessness within my constituency by 2022. So far the council’s best solutions have been to buy one way tickets for homeless people to get them out of the town, as well as playing bag pipe music at the interchange - these ineffective solutions have cost the tax payer £200,000."
This term in parliament has brought much attention for the SNP's Mairi Black, who was a student at the time of her election. On this subject, Wilson says:
"I wouldn’t necessarily say I was inspired by Mhairi Black, though many of her speeches and the work she has done over the last year could easily be described as inspirational. I’d say it’s the people I meet everyday that inspire me. Everyone has a different story to tell and a different struggle in their life - we all have our burdens, a good government would lighten their load, so that’s what we should be aiming for."
The young parliamentary hopeful says that he intends to use around £10,000 of his annual salary if elected to fund charity organisations which have suffered as a result of Tory austerity measures, as well as social care start-ups in his constituency.
"Each year applicants will be able to apply for grants between £1,000 - £5,000. I will create a committee of local volunteers with experience in business to filter through the applications to pick those best for the community."
Kieron highlights a lack of funding as the main problem with the NHS (in 2013 we spent as a percentage of our GDP less than Greece on our healthcare). He adds that this is a particular problem in the sphere of mental health.
"We need more money and more talking about problems. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 40. That has to change. In Bournemouth it is above the national average."
The Salford student considers himself well suited to represent citizens in a constituency with a shifting demographic.
"It is getting younger - for many years it was predominately older citizens. I think I’m in a unique position because I’m very young, but my parents are getting towards retirement age so I have both young and old interests at heart.
"People should vote for me if they want real change in Bournemouth and they want an MP who truly has what is best for the constituency in his mind - not what is going to best progress him through the party ranks."
Kieron is standing against Conservative candidate Tobias Ellwood, Labour candidate Melanie Semple, Liberal Democrat candidate Jon Nicholas and the Green Party candidate Alasdair Keddie.
Images courtesy of Kieron Wilson.